Discussion in 'General' started by Iantha_Branch, Sep 15, 2019.
Now we’re talk’n my kind of railroading!
I know what you're describing with the switch frogs. I've noticed it, but haven't had much issue with it to this point. I hadn't thought about about painting the track before ballasting. I like the way that turned out. Maybe one day if I settle on a track plan, I'll have to give that a try.
I designed the layout with 5 yard tracks, long enough to hold lengthy trains. I think the middle track holds a consist of 4 locos and 25ish cars.
I think my favorite part is I was able to incorporate some larger radius curves. The tightest radius is 26", and it goes all the way up to 35.5".
At this point, I still have room for another consist.
It's a lot easier to paint the track before ballast, I used rattle can black on mine because I'm modeling steam era and early diesel. After spraying wipe the track tops with a rag with alcohol, then weather the sides with rust color paint. A Masonite pad will polish the rails and remove any debris.
I just noticed looking at the picture of painted EZ track . When I cleaned the paint off the railheads with an old popsicle stick, the sides of the railheads got polished too. To me, this actually reduces the apparent height of the code 100 rail, helping its appearance. Keep that in mind as you progress on your trackwork.
Your name is Ethan? You’ve got more EZ track than I’ve ever seen in one place. There’s a lot of painting and ballasting to do but it will look good in the end. You are right, it really does hold together well, after all it’s intended to take a toy train beating. Much better for the rug under the Christmas tree than snap track ever was. I’ve never had derailments where EZ track sections join each other.
If you are only running diesels the raised EZ track frogs may not be an issue. I had to get them level before I could operate a 4-4-0, and even the bigger steam engines didn't like them that much.
Oh, about painting the EZ track. If you haven’t fastened it down, you can take out sections at a time, paint them and even ballast on the workbench (keep back from the exposed ends a hair) and reinstall when dry. That way you don’t leave the back side of the rail unpainted..... and doing it on a workbench is way, way better than bending over the layout..... and not getting the back painted. After you get them back down, you touch up the ballast at the bare mating edges.
Sorry to be so yakky about the track. But I’ve already made all the mistakes so I can tell you about them.
I appreciate all of the input you've given. I may try to paint and ballast a few sections and see how it holds up to being handled afterward.
The nice thing about this layout, is I designed it to be at desk height. I can roll around in an office chair to operate and work on stuff. It's been really nice not being on my feet to do anything.
I saw your rolling office chair and thought, there’s a guy like me. I have two of those plus a piano stool for any “wide” visitors. My layout is at a 36” height because it has to traverse in front of 5 windows mostly, but also because I used Lowe’s chrome wire storage tables for support.
My friend has a much larger layout than I, at the much touted 54” height. I have to say, after a 2 hr op there I’ve had it. He thoughtfully has put out some studio type wood stools which really helps.
Ethan, like your layout design and the size of it. That's a big train room.
When painting the sides of your track you only need to do what is visible from the front. The backside doesn't need to be painted, that cuts what is needed in half and will save time.
I'm like you about sitting in a chair, I use Cynthia's old wheelchair to do a lot of things on my layout.
The reason I say paint both sides is that in my case I anticipate eventually moving and relocating the layout, and if the layout back becomes the front, I would then have unpainted rail that can’t be painted because of the ballast. If the track is ever intended to be reinstalled in a different setting I recommend painting it all as a precaution. Also, sometimes I drop the camera on the back side of the track. I haven’t had unpainted rail show yet but it could.
If none of this applies, yes, painting the back of the track would be a waste of paint and time.
One thing I haven’t done is very lightly mist over the steam era track with a flat black spray bomb, as Joe said. Although, if you are on an oil burning division, you wouldn’t have coal dust.
Looks like a great home layout, ETHAN --- Let'em roll!
After a few months of having the relaxing railroad, I decided to get ambitious again. After thinking about it some more, I decided that if I could come up with a good track plan to use it, I would add on a 2nd level to the layout to give me enough space to somewhat model a subdivision. I drew up a few plans, but naturally I have chosen the Ash Grove sub, late 70's era like normal for me. The plan includes Ft. Scott and Springfield for end points. Each has a small classification yard, and 3 tracks to hold full trains as they come and go. I was limited on space, but was able to include a couple industries for each. Beyond that, there are 3 other locations on the layout: Arcadia, Iantha and Lamar. Arcadia served as the northern terminus for the Parsons Sub. Mostly coal traffic in and out at Arcadia. There are two tracks yard tracks for handling the local coal traffic, as well as a condensed branch down to the Clemmons mine at Mertz. The KCS crossing at Last Chance/Buck/Ardath makes an appearance in the corner, just happened to fit there. Iantha includes the MFA fertilizer plant and MFA grain elevator. Lamar includes industries of Barton County oil, Thorco, O'Sullivans and the MFA elevator, as well as a MoPac interchange.
Well see how it goes. If it works out as intended, it should be a nice layout. Track plan posted below.
It may be me, but I can't see how the two levels are connected based on the lines in the illustrations. I see on the lover level where the line from Ft Scott makes the curve and continues "up to the top", but I don't see an indication on the upper level where there is an indication "down to bottom".
Oops, I meant to include an annotation on the upper level. In the lower left hand corner of the layout plan, there will be a helix to connect the two levels. The large circle that swings out into the isle in that corner is roughly where the helix will go.
3 months can go by quick. Fall is a busy time for me because of harvest and then tillage work before winter moves in. Construction on the helix and second level was more difficult than anticipated, but I had it mostly done by the end of October, then it was just a matter of laying track and getting rolling stock moved into their new homes on the layout. Back at the beginning of November, I had my appendix removed, so that set me back a few weeks as well. I definitely wouldn't call it a finished product yet, but its at least operational. I was able to run a consist from Springfield down to Ft. Scott and back up. I still need to work on balancing the weight of my longer trains so they can make it up the helix. For those wondering, the helix is set up on a 26" radius curve, which is a little more than a 2% grade. My method of choice is a little crude and "rickity", but it works because I use the EZ track. Its made from 1x4's cut on 30 degree angles, to make a 12 sided shape (dodecagon). It was easier to cut that, then to attempt to cut a curved roadbed out of plywood. Things are still a bit messy, but I do have some pictures to share down below.
Springfield Yard on top, Ft. Scott yard on Bottom
Yards by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
Springfield Industries include the AB elevator, Love Oil, Springfield Hardwoods, and Springfield Grocers
Spfd Ind by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
Lamar area on the other side of the layout. Underneath are the small towns of Iantha and Arcadia
Lamar by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
The Helix I cobbled together
Helix by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
The NWF preparing to leave Springfield
NWF by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
The FSE departing Ft. Scott
FSE by Iantha_Branch posted Dec 5, 2020 at 8:21 PM
Looks great Ethan. What a line up of power on that shelf!!
That...is a lot of progress. Looking good, Ethan...thanks for sharing and hope the post-appendectomy recovery went well.
Man. That railroad room. If only I had something like that. I’d do the same little branch line I have now, but have double ended 3 track yards with 15 car tracks, a couple of 20 car passing tracks, 4 or 5 rural settlements along the line with Co op warehouses or rice elevators, 20’ minimum between each town, a wye and yard where the branch leaves the main line, a wye at the end of the branch, and a 2 stall semi-open engine shed.
It's been a while since I posted an update on the layout. Unfortunately, this layout hasn't worked out quite as well as I had hoped. The biggest issue is the helix. Because of space constraints, I could only go out to a 26" radius curve, which gives a little over a 2% grade. It has limited the length of train I can run from Ft. Scott to Springfield to be quite a bit less than what I originally wanted. And I spend more time dealing with derailments going up and down the helix than I do actually running. The other issue I've had is figuring out car routing. I didn't think much about it when I was drawing things out, but I didn't really leave room for interchange points to simulate cars entering and leaving the railroad. The final issue I have had to face is my layout space needs to be more for relaxation than realism. I've found that because of my job, I don't have the energy most of the time to go through the paces of a realistic operation.
So in the coming days, the top level is getting taken apart, and I will go back to a track plan similar to what I had last summer, and hopefully I can get back to enjoying my layout space. I'll have a track plan posted when I decide on something.
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